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Are they the same? What do they mean?

Here is the sentence:

I was one of the most experienced. All of us were judged by our ability to rake muck. The head muckraker was Frederica Jansz...

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3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted

One who investigates and exposes issues of corruption that often violate widely held values.

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thanks you. @Jen please pay attention to @UserID: he understood the question and provided a clear definition. +1 –  Anderson Silva Mar 4 '11 at 14:42
    
That's a hugely tendentious definition! Did coverage of the former governor of California or the two former governors of New York -- "muckraking" in almost anyone's vocabulary -- "expose issues of corruption"? –  Malvolio Jul 6 '11 at 21:06

See definition in this Wikipedia article. Muckraker is the noun (more widely used), rake muck the corresponding verb.

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Note from the Wikipedia article that the term isn't always used positively. A journalist may see it as a badge of pride, but many others see it as implying the journalist enjoys making their targets miserable. –  user1579 Mar 4 '11 at 13:31
    
what does this profound noun and verb mean? –  Anderson Silva Mar 4 '11 at 14:41
    
See link to Wikipedia –  The English Chicken Mar 4 '11 at 14:43

"Muck" means "dirt" of "trash." (To "muck one's hand in cards is to throw it in the discards.) A "muckraker" is someone who digs up dirt on other people, usually for journalistic reasons, like selling newspapers. Sometimes "muckrakers" perform a public service by exposing things like corruption. But the usual motive is to create a journalistic "sensation," e.g. by covering the trial of Casey Anthony.

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"Muck" does not mean dirt or trash. It means debris of a slimy or muddy consistency, including horse droppings. "Muck-raking" does not typically refer to covering issues of legitimate public interest, such as a murder trial, regardless of how disproportionate that interest might be; it's used to denigrate focusing on scandal and issues of private morality (Google "Schwartzenegger" or "Weiner" for some examples). –  Malvolio Jul 6 '11 at 21:04

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